Much like Uncle Jay’s belt after the last slice of Thanksgiving pie, the November news cycle groaned under the weight of one meaty story after another. In the last week of the month alone, the Senate marched toward advancing the GOP’s tax bill, the Dow topped 24,000, Bitcoin leaped above $11,000, President Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos and invoked a rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May, Matt Lauer was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct, and North Korea tested another ICBM (a fact that is, as WIRED’s own Lily Hay Newman puts it, even scarier than that sounds on its own). Oh, and the public continued to sound alarms about the impending end of net neutrality.
But, in the WIRED realm, a small bit of wonderment prevailed. When Elon Musk and his electric big rig rumbled onto the scene on November 16, the news captured more eyeballs than you can shake a turkey leg at. As our own transportation team put it, the semitruck—powered by an enormous battery that runs up to 500 miles on a single charge—marks one more mile traveled on Musk’s quest to unshackle humanity from its reliance on oil and gas, and drive us—autonomously, of course—into a cleaner future.
Below, a selection of the most-read stories on WIRED.com over the past 30 days.
What does the future look like for truck drivers? That kind of depends on how you define trucking.—Aarian Marshall
It began as relationships often do these days, online. From the start it was a strange and tangled story of exposure and distrust in the internet era.—Brooke Jarvis
Elon Musk has always dreamed big, and tonight he showed off his biggest reverie yet: the fully electric Tesla Semi. Powered by a massive battery and capable of hauling 80,000 pounds, it can ramble 500 miles between charges. It’ll even drive itself—on the highway, at least.
The big rig, which Musk unveiled at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters Thursday night, is just the latest step in his mission to make humanity forget about planet-killing fossil fuels and embrace the gospel of electric power.
That is, of course, if he can convince the trucking industry it’s time for a new way of moving stuff around—and if he can actually make the thing.—Alex Davies
Geoff Hinton has unveiled another “old” idea that might transform how computers see—and reshape AI. That’s important because computer vision is crucial to ideas such as self-driving cars, and having software that plays doctor.—Tom Simonite
Current and would-be graduate students fear that, were the tax bill to pass, getting a PhD in the US could become financially impossible.—Robbie Gonzalez
If there’s ever been a reason to spend an hour importing bookmarks, installing extensions, and tweaking all your settings just so, Firefox Quantum is it. It’s a truly 2017 browser, and it might be the only one.—David Pierce
The outages reinforce how precarious connectivity really is, and how certain aspects of the internet’s architecture—offering flexibility and ease-of-use—can introduce instability into what has become a vital service.—Lily Hay Newman
“There are hackable security flaws in software. And then there are those that don’t even require hacking at all—just a knock on the door, and asking to be let in. Apple’s macOS High Sierra has the second kind.”
As the richest people in America fixate on how to give money to the poorest, the Cherokee program is a case study of whether a basic income is in fact a practical proposal for alleviating economic inequality or just another oversimplified, undercooked Silicon Valley fix to one of the most intractable problems our society faces. Or maybe it’s both.—Issie Lapowsky
How do you show off the most anticipated product in years? … I could show people more of the dazzling high-resolution screen that covers just about the entire surface of the device. I could snap some photos, demonstrating how you could now use the artsy portrait mode in the selfie-friendly front camera. Or I could show how I was slowly mastering a new set of gestures that would reprogram my muscle memories previously optimized for a home button, an appurtenance strikingly missing from my glass-encased X. But what I ultimately chose was an animated piece of shit.—Steven Levy